Land ho! Get your boat shoes ready because Chicago is sailing into maritime history this summer when it hosts the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup, June 10-12. For the first time ever, a freshwater venue – our very own Lake Michigan! – will host this premier yacht racing event. Here’s our guide to this event at Navy Pier that promises plenty of seaworthy thrills for the entire family.

Navy Pier from lakephoto: Navy Pier

What is the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup?
Six teams will be competing for the Cup including Sweden, Great Britain, Japan, France, New Zealand and good ole Team USA. Navy Pier, everyone’s favorite summertime destination, will be at the center of all the action: The start and finish line will be in the water right off the Grand Ballroom and East End Plaza.

Racing Day 2 of Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series New Yorkphoto: Louis Vuitton America’s Cup NYC

Where to Watch the Race
You’ll want to head to the east end of Navy Pier, where the “Race Village” will offer the best viewpoints. The finish line will be just feet from the end of Navy Pier, and the starting line and turning marks will be focused around the Race Village (when lake and weather conditions allow). Racing will also be shown on large screens located in the Race Village. Family friendly entertainment and interactive content focused on the sport of sailing will round out the fun, and you’ll also learn about the history, the technology, the teams and the sailors of the America’s Cup thanks to interactive exhibits and activities for an added educational element.

For full location details, head here. You will need to buy tickets to access the Race Village; and your best bet is to book your tickets online well in advance. Children under the age of two are free to enter the Race Village with a paying adult. If you don’t buy tickets, you can still view the event from the west end of Navy Pier.

Louis Vuitton Americas Cup Mapphoto: Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Map

The BEST View of the Race: The Grandstand  
Located directly at the start/finish line on the edge of Navy Pier in the Race Village, the premier grandstand will offer the best views of the race course. You’ll have to purchase your tickets ahead of time for these exclusive seats, which also include access to the Race Village, the Sailors Lounge (where you can take shelter and enjoy fancier concessions). General Admission is mostly standing room on Navy Pier, so the Grandstand Seat ticket ensures comfy seats with outstanding views.

See the Race onboard the Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago, or Mystic Blue
For a truly unique America’s Cup Chicago viewing experience, hop aboard the OdysseySpirit of Chicago or Mystic Blue. You’ll get up close to the competition on the perimeter for race while enjoying live entertainment, dining options and cocktails from the comfort of a luxury cruise deck.

08/05/16 - New York (USA) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series New York - Racing Day 2photo: Louis Vuitton America’s Cup NYC

What Time Does the Race Begin? 
The current racing window is scheduled from 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday; however, exact start times depend on weather and lake conditions.  Check the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup website before you head to Navy Pier. Plan on arriving early so you can better enjoy the festivities in the Race Village.

Racing Day 2 of Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series New Yorkphoto: Louis Vuitton America’s Cup NYC

How much are tickets?
Access to the Race Village on the Friday prior to the race is $5/kids and $59/adults.  A day pass on Saturday or Sunday is $19/kids and $35/adults. If you want to keep coming back for the action, a weekend pass is $29/kids and $59/adults.

Date: Fri., Jun. 10-Sun., Jun. 12
Race Time: Tentatively Sat. & Sun.; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.

Are you planning on attending the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below!

—Amy Bizzarri